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Naxalism – some reasons and some solutions

March 11, 2008

naxals-toi.jpgThe Indian government seems to be waking up to the Naxalism (revolutionary, often violent, communist groups) menace if the spate of articles in the mainstream media in the last few months are anything to go by. About time too as the Maoists plan to attack urban centres like the industrial belts of Bhilai, Ranchi, Dhanbad, Calcutta and Mumbai, Pune, Surat Ahmedabad.

Here are some of the initiatives taken by the individual states:

  • States of Bihar, Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal will share information and coordinate with one another in adjoining border areas (to stop the Naxals from escaping across the borders after launching attacks).
  • The Jharkhand government is setting up a state industrial security force on the lines of the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) to protect industries as the Naxalites (who operate in 18 of the 24 districts in the state) often destroy equipment of business establishments if they are not given extortion money.
  • The Orissa State government will be getting 10000 extra personnel for fighting the Naxals – long term deployment of two battalions of CRPF in Orissa and an additional five India Reserve Battalions.
  • In Tamil Nadu, a 10-day guerilla warfare training programme has begun for 320 cops in the seven districts falling under the Central Zone. The commandos of the elite STF will provide specialised training such as (1) sophisticated arms training (2) combing operations in reserve forests (3) setting up of temporary tents and bunkers to the 320 cops.
  • The Kerala govt is now surveying labourers from other states as the Maoists are using the state as a hide-out.
  • The Maharashtra government and the state police is setting up with a special force.

While the Centre has ruled out deployment of the Army as the forces’ hands are already full, the government has the following plans:

  • The central government will be investing Rs 500-crore to fight the Naxals. This money will be used to provide (1) critical mobility to the police (2) secure camping grounds and helipads at strategic locations, (3) build basic roads for the forces so they have mobility in otherwise inaccessible areas.
  • India’s Interior Ministry has set up an anti-rebel cell to ensure periodic review and close monitoring of rebel activities.

wiki.jpg

The price of government neglect
What’s probably worrying the government is that the Naxals are targeting the poor to get their recruits and there is no dearth of the poor in India. The map (from the wikipedia) shows that the Naxals are successful in the poorest districts of India.

For example, the rural tribal villagers in Chhattisgarh (where Naxalism thrives) live on less than 35 cents a day, one of the lowest in the country.

The Naxals are making hay in the north-east too. This map doesn’t show too much of Naxalite presence in the north-east but it must be wrong. Why, tea-estates in Assam have become breeding grounds for the Naxals!

Orissa seems to be in a bad shape. Here over 72 percent of all adivasis (indigenous minority of the population of India, the term often used synonymously with tribals) live well below the poverty line and the Naxals are becoming more powerful by the day. You can read more about the Adivasis and Naxalism here.

Let’s all remember that the Adivasis were here before us. If India belongs to anybody, it belongs to them:

The spread of Naxalism is an indication of the sense of desperation and alienation that is sweeping over of large sections of our nation who have been not only systematically marginalised but cruelly exploited and dispossessed in their last homelands…the central Indian adivasis have been described as “the original autochthonous people of India” meaning that their presence in India pre-dated the Dravidians, the Aryans and whoever else settled in this country…these are the real swadeshi products of India, in whose presence all others are foreign. These are ancient people with moral rights and claims thousands of years old. They were here first and should come first in our regard…Unfortunately like indigenous people all over the world, the India’s adivasis too have been savaged and ravaged by later people claiming to be more ‘civilised’.

More hard facts:

At the national level 45.86 percent of all adivasis live below the poverty line which means that almost half of India’s original inhabitants go to bed every night starving. Several anthropometric studies have revealed that successive generations of adivasis are actually becoming smaller unlike all other people in India who benefit from better and increasingly nutritious diets…

Adivasis are just one group of people being targeted by the Naxals for recruitment. Overall, all poor people are being targeted, including Dalits.

Poverty, lack of land reforms, caste discrimination and oppression and denial of access to justice push the Dalits closer to the Naxals. The concentration of Dalit populations in the Naxalite affected areas in India is quite high.

Well, that was to remind all of us about the injustice that is being perpetrated on certain areas in the country….and that terror groups are making full use of it. As the agenda that the Naxals mouth is typically pro-poor and because the ‘development’ in India is not reaching all of the population, the Naxals are having a field day. The government seems to be waking up to the seriousness of the situation however and well, better late than ever.

In conclusion I want to say that the government has proposed a three-pronged strategy to combat Naxalism:

  1. Gain confidence of local people by taking up more welfare related activities.
  2. Build up infrastructure in naxal-affected areas and generate employment.
  3. Launch joint security operations with neighbouring states to eliminate left wing extremists.

I am glad that the government has put (1) and (2) first. That should be the priority, always. Hopefully, the situation doesn’t have to get worse to get better.

(Credits: Map is from the Wikipedia, photo is from the Times of India. I also want to thank NaxalWatch as that site has a collection of many articles on this subject all in one place. I found at least half of the above links due to the headlines on that blog.)

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47 Comments leave one →
  1. March 11, 2008 9:52 am

    If you see the map, eastern parts of India are more affected by Naxalites. Is it because
    1.western parts are more educated,industrially developed
    2.since independence, whether congress or non congress governments failed to deliver
    3.inadequate monsoon showers leading to poor agricultural development and poverty
    Any more geographical reasons?

  2. March 11, 2008 11:22 am

    Old Sailor, well, I do think development has a lot to do with it. The reason why Kashmir too has become an easy place to recruit people from is because of the lack of development. As to why these areas are not developed is very complex, and I think the government has something to do with it ofcourse but also the history of the place, the importance placed on education etc and ofcourse the fact that Punjab was good agriculturally helped the area. Very many reasons actually but what is clear not in the present situation is that these areas need special focus and help otherwise we are going to see India blow up.

    • ADIBA permalink
      June 7, 2010 7:53 pm

      NITA, YOUR MATTER WAS VERY INTRESTING & UPTO POINT.
      I want some more information about naxalies-What naxalies are? What are the causes for revolution? & Some solution about this problem.
      Actually I have to made a project on naxal’s attack on Chattisgarh of about 4-5 pages.
      I will be very thankful.

      • sharad permalink
        June 20, 2010 7:30 pm

        madam aap ka project complete ho gya ho to kuch share kra.

        • November 7, 2010 9:36 am

          1.Improving eduction facility for chioldren belonging to the naxlised area.
          2.Providing good health facilities for the tribel living in these area.
          3. Improvihg land reforme in these areas.
          4.Govt should give more fininacial support to these areas.

  3. March 11, 2008 12:33 pm

    Nita,

    Thanks for a good,balanced article.

    Development and equality should not only be the first priority,but the ONLY priority,not just in naxal affected areas but ALSO in the insurgency affected areas ! Naxalism and insurgency would automatically disappear if development and equality are ensured to all citizens of the country.The most stupid thing to do is to try to crush the oppressed through deploying the Army or training “government naxals” like the Salwa Judum.

    It is NOT the Army’s job to fight insurgency or naxalism in ANY part of the country ! The Army’s job is to fight wars against external enemies and NOT our own people ! I do not know when the government will understand this,or even IF they ever will !

    And training militias like the Salwa Judum or imprisoning human rights activists will make things even worse !

  4. March 11, 2008 1:39 pm

    Nita, A small correction: “Map is from the Wiki”, should be “Map is from Wikipedia”. Wiki is just software (ie Mediawiki in Wikipedia’s case) which powers Wikipedia.

    Thanks for great article throwing lights on real side of issue.

  5. March 11, 2008 10:37 pm

    Thanks Raj, Kartik for your responses.
    Kartik I have made the change you suggested. :)

  6. March 11, 2008 11:14 pm

    Nita, would you know the underlying reasons? Is it because the tribals feel that their way of life (which they want to continue) is being threatened and destroyed by urban development being imposed on them, or is it because they want a piece of the development pie and are left out?

  7. March 12, 2008 7:36 am

    Well, the naxals recruit people by telling them that the govt. doesn’t care about them and that they are going to suffer all their life unless they participate…but ofcourse this is just the superficial thing. Actually the Naxals are simply wearing the pro-poor mask as they have political ambitions, destroy legitmate businesses, kidnap people and exhort money and engage in other criminal aciivities. They take ‘haftas’ from people who are innocent hardworking and threaten and intimidate and kill. They are evil to my mind.
    Many who are in the Naxalite movement know that and many villagers know that too. It’s very complicated…but the fact that the Naxals pay their army, give them a meaning and purpose in life, and a good life to some extent is all very important. These people are starving after all and here they are getting something. Similar things happened in Kashmir, a mix of ideology and the desperate need for survival. So while there will always be people who are gullible enough to believe the pro-poor ideology, most simply want to survive, and others are ofcourse, criminals.

    P.S. In today’s newspaper I read that a naxal who is in custody is saying that 40 percent of their cadre are women. I didn’t know that and I find it hard to believe, but well, one never knows. I do know that there are women in the cadres…

    • R Saikia permalink
      April 7, 2010 11:16 am

      1. Using gun you cannot solve this issue.
      2. Naxals are also human being and Indian.
      3. Indian government is highly corrupted.
      4. I had to pay Rs 100/= to the authority while I collected my migration certificate after my 10+2, so you think how it will effect my soft heart.
      5. No government office people work without some extra money.
      6. If you need an example you can visit the DPI office in Guwahati. The head of the office even takes money and demands money.
      etc. etc.

  8. rohit permalink
    June 11, 2008 8:34 pm

    Nita,
    your article made good reading and was informative. i would like to know as to wether you think this problem is likely to get out of hand of state/ central govt in the near future.
    Why? i am asking u this is because if that happens we all must realise that even the army cant do much about it then as naxalism is now engulfing 15 states already.
    what do you have to say of the Compact Revolutionary Zone that has been created by the naxalism and how do you link it to the Strategic encirclement of India by China.
    Just for info the heart of this problem id in those areas which have till date not been mapped/ surveyed by either the British(Pre Independnce) or India.

    Do send me your response.

  9. June 11, 2008 9:03 pm

    Rohit, that is a frightening scenario isn’t it. But if it gets out of hand I forsee civil war. I also have faith in the army and the population of those areas will have divided loyalties…so civil war! We will win ofcourse. There is no doubt but the death and destruction will devastate those states. Lets hope it never comes to this.

  10. vivek mittal permalink
    June 17, 2008 1:00 pm

    \\ I do not know when the government will understand this,or even IF they ever will \\

    i would like to put some views on the above statement of a commentator…..

    Do you really think, if govt talks to them , and fulfil their demand, then they will give up the militancy?………do you think these people are so honest?……dont you think the “leaders” of such groups aren’t fulfilling their narrow minded wishes/goals on the names of few “demands”?…….

    why on earth are they killing innocent people on the name of “demands”………it’s very complicated issue…anti national elements on the name of naxalism are hurting our country…and IF there were any motives or demands behind these heinous crimes ………today the situation has changed…they are fulfilling their goals to hurt the country and earn the money….probable are geting foreign help too…..

    I see from the map that worst affected areas are West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, Orissa and Chattisgarh….and they have started their activities in karnataka, Maharashtra, Uttrakhand and Kerala too…..Also they are very active in NE too…….and very soon they will spread in other states too…

    any group/community which kill innocent people on the name of few “demand” are terrorists…….What else is the definition of terrorism?….same thing is happening in Kashmir, Mumbai, and recently in Jaipur and Hyderabad

  11. June 18, 2008 8:42 am

    The best way to solve problems is through talks. Naxalism started due to the pauperisation and exploitation of the peasantry in a filthy feudal system in the countryside. Naxals must be talked into giving up the gun by fulfilling their legitimate demands of development of all sections of society. Violence only breeds more violence and tears apart the society. Violence cannot bring peace or development. The stupid self-serving politicians and bureaucrats in the central and state governments have to realise this.

  12. Essvee permalink
    July 4, 2008 12:07 am

    Well army is an resort which will perish these naxals. I have great fait

  13. Uma permalink
    July 6, 2008 5:43 pm

    One of the root causes of Naxalism is low or no development of the affected areas. So the natural solution is development mainly in the form of education, employment and infrastructure. This works in two ways
    1. Lured in people see development. As they have got what they asked for they no longer require the naxals help. Leading to weakening of the movement.
    2. As development increases and people are employed and educated they would strart questioning the naxal tactics and motives. And would also not have the time to attend to the naxal musings. Leading to very low or no new reqruitments.

    • mahesh permalink
      May 6, 2010 2:34 pm

      do any person wants to write something about soldier who have sacrifice their life [CRPF jawan]

  14. Castlelanger permalink
    July 9, 2008 4:59 pm

    Nita has already provided excellent views about the reasons why naxalism is spreading.
    To sum it all — The naxals are a bunch of sadists who are bent on taking full advantage of the prevailing poverty and lack of education in those areas. They have a vested interest in the poor ramaining poor. Their real agenda is to acquire a gargantuan political dimension and rule the people .

    If you look a little more carefully, you will find that the naxal areas are spread over locations not just where there is lack of development and infrastructure but where you will find a large forest cover.

    Comming to the question of eliminating naxal threat — I would suggest that we wipe off their top leadership. The rest will follow without much difficulty.
    That is because most of the recruits are not as professional as the army or our eilte security forces. Besides, you require an elaborate military tradition to actually fight and win wars. These guys just detonate a bomb or fight under cover and then disappear.

    But if we could eliminate their top leadership, their morale would break significantly and they might go directionless. They dont have the institutional depth to churn and replenish military leaders. Once we achieve that our security personnel could go after them more proactively.

    Ofcourse, all this should work in conjuction with better governance in those areas as suggested by previous contributors in this link.

    We cane pretty close to eliminating the top leadership in 2005. Around 2000 grey hounds ( elite commandos specialised in jungle warfare to combat left wing extremism) encircled a hide out where the entire naxal leadership was holed out. But our politicos acted in ‘swift unison’ to have those guys released.

    Nita — what do you think could be the possible reason why our politicians let them off the hook? These are the same politicians who have wowed to avenge the death of 35 grey hound personnel.

  15. dipankar permalink
    July 16, 2008 1:58 pm

    i beleive we all understand what the problem is, but what is the best solution? each has its pros and cons, so how do we come up with something which will work for sure. can we develop those areas and starve the naxalites from recruiting more people and then go for their throat or we do it simultaniously. wel if anyone can give solutions in a tabular format it would be most helpful. by the way every one has written good comments but i’m loking for a solution which is poolproof.

  16. raj permalink
    March 8, 2010 9:09 pm

    these people will not understand love’s language because they are bound by their leaders and leaders want to establish thier own goverment across india so to stop all masskilling india has to quite hard like srilanka in very short time srilanka finished LTTE. so sent army to these areas and quell all the naxalism and force to surrender or kill and after this develop these areas untill you dont kill them do not let you develop these areas.

  17. March 18, 2010 9:19 pm

    Nice article madam ..

  18. March 18, 2010 9:41 pm

    If govt developed proper industries
    than it can be reduce..
    people will get enough money to survive than they fill not go in this field.
    As OSHO said “poverty makes crime “.
    remove poverty ..all problem will solve easily.

  19. vasudev permalink
    April 7, 2010 5:01 pm

    wonder who is sponsoring this sudden rush of naxalism and all those arms and ammunitions etc? china? quite possible. a disturbed india will stop being a competitor to china.

  20. santosh permalink
    April 7, 2010 5:46 pm

    NITA……..
    you explain the topic really good but after today news we should start taking further step to kill naxalism in india, other wise it will be most dangerous SEED in future for are farm of development…………
    as like without fighting language with taliban afgan will not survive…is the same over here . if we will try to talk with them in same manner it will not solve the problem. The same naxalism is happening from 1967 , that means it really got deep root into that part of india. which is spreading all over. talking with them is one part to solve the problem BUT if its not solving then use another part that is use FORCES against them and clear those area from NAXALISM ……………..
    its really taking too much now, some where it has to stop.

  21. avi permalink
    April 11, 2010 9:47 am

    Do we another Gandhi ? Time to revisit our plans…

  22. Jagdeep Saini permalink
    May 6, 2010 5:05 am

    These words are too big to say but very hard to impliment
    Equality and Development
    Is this is euality that in Independent India your mother, sister and daughter can be rapped and killed anytime, anywhere.
    You will get no justice at all as the rapist is an politician, industrailist or a rich person.
    I am not taking examples from tribal areas. I am talking about civilised world eg. Jesica murder and Ruchika molesting cases. Where those effected sons, brothers and husbands will go for justice.
    In case of Jesica Manu is in jail enjoying every f**king liberty and facility. But you think waht a lay man can do?

  23. mahesh permalink
    May 7, 2010 2:31 pm

    plz give some message

  24. manish permalink
    May 28, 2010 9:04 pm

    i think naxalites all alone can’t do such kind of thing…others are also involve in it.i hv read in the newspaper that they found live cartridges nd grenades which were chinese made..so i think different terrorist groups within india and outside india are helping naxalites to create anarchy and chaos all over the country.

    • vasudev permalink
      May 29, 2010 11:07 pm

      the reasons aren’t very difficult to guess. some political parties support naxalites to get into power. india is facing a two-pronged terrorist attack now: from pakistan and china. china gains by creating instability in india. we are a growing economical threat to them. they have friends in india who are willing to support them create the diversion. similarly pakistan is also attacking india through friends from within. to top it all, the goi is acting dictatorially and alienating common people more and more through their knee jerk reactions.

  25. Meraj Ahmad permalink
    July 10, 2010 3:54 pm

    The problem of naxal is not of only related to them it is related to every person who are facing same position, like you can some one want to made Maratha Rajya, Some one want to make Khalistan, and some one want to make his only Kashmir Every one to make his presence no one thinking about our country think that if you carrying on same fashion in upcoming future India will be distributed into so many countries. The division is not a solution. I know the problem is everywhere in India, Every one knows that our government is not succeeded to solve the problem. I don’t think Government can solve the problem. Because they don’t want to do this. But My appeal to Naxal’s and other movement agencies please don’t kill the common people. If you have problem with leaf or branch of tree don’t cut whole tree cut those branches and leaf. It is the only solution. but don’t punish the common people. they are innocent they have families like you have/had. So please think about your self , then you will punish the guilty party.

  26. shalender permalink
    July 27, 2010 8:28 pm

    a nice job done. a nice project by u.

    thanks

    shalender

  27. Chandrasekaran permalink
    August 14, 2010 10:24 pm

    sorry dont mistake me i’ve an opinion that those naxals too are humans they may be mislead probably by frustration etc. for us it is easy to speak but after experiencing those suffr=erings we may not be in the same mindset………

    • vasudev permalink
      August 20, 2010 11:01 pm

      chandrasekaran…some of those logged in here might have been naxalites or naxalite supporters at one point of time in their lives. but they must have supported naxalism just because it represented a will to overcome the deficiency of a certain societal group. those who once supported naxalism as an uprising against facism would now do a mental check on their own foolish and prematuredly emotion driven handicap of having let-gone their positions to favour the modern day China sponsored fascists who call themselvess naxals but want to have the money-goodies. we cannot have an enemy within at any cost and modern naxals have turned india into a proxy indi-chini war, just like terrorism!

  28. windsurfer permalink
    October 2, 2010 11:11 pm

    Is it being sponsored by China-any concrete proofs?

  29. vijay permalink
    October 7, 2010 12:13 am

    its good one ….thx nita ji…

    • November 7, 2010 9:41 am

      if u r agree with me then what r othre solution in yuor mind pl tell send to me

  30. d.k.tomar permalink
    October 25, 2010 1:51 am

    There are plenty of the ways for f tackling the problem. But sustainable employment will be permanent solution for the eradication of Naxalism in India which will lead to education , development and patriotism. Gov. is being made to through away the money by so called secular and Dalit supporter – politician who will never let the solve the problem. Azadi means to them ” Full Liberty to do any thing against majority, security of the Nation and oppose each and every action which can stabilize the Indian security.” Until and unless these anti social and anti nation politician are not removed from the scenario these problems cannot be solved. Only Real KrantiKary can finish them.

  31. October 26, 2010 7:44 pm

    I wanna ask that whenever government get ready to help naxals for development of their area then why don’t naxalities allow them to do ??

    and

    That Naxalities are known as a party of CPIML: so I waana ask that the government of West Bengal belong to CPI then why being there own government in the state they are killing more people in West Bengal only ???

    plz answer me. .

  32. swopna rani biswal permalink
    November 2, 2010 3:57 pm

    nice cotation of naxalism.[rita]

  33. swopna rani biswal permalink
    November 2, 2010 4:04 pm

    poverty and lack of land reform,caste discrimination and opperassion anddenial to access to justice thats why the dalits r more closer to the naxals.

  34. Ashim permalink
    February 17, 2011 12:07 pm

    So what may be the effective/accurate initiative should govt aply? plz reply

  35. sudil permalink
    May 17, 2012 4:23 pm

    its has nothing to do with the development.,neither goverment neither naxlite wants to cooperate each other..goverment moves towards development for the tribals area in making the roads.school,bringing electricity and other hand naxalite moves towards the destruction part..by blowing up roads school electric poles,.stopping the development process and finally these tribals and poor peo
    ple had to suffered alot.

  36. prakash dwivedi permalink
    September 25, 2013 8:21 pm

    naxalism is not bad but it’s process of movement is bad.

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